The “T” word is getting thrown around pretty freely these days. Especially now that George W. Bush’s ethics attorney Richard Painter publicly said Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who supposedly had dirt on Hillary Clinton was an act that “borders on treason.”
— The Hill (@thehill) July 10, 2017
Later Painter just called it “treason” on Twitter.
This is treason. He must have known that the only way Russia would get such information was by spying.https://t.co/MSwr3DsbHs
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) July 9, 2017
That Painter worked for GWB probably gives the impression that the treason charge is coming from a Republican ethics lawyer, but Painter heads up a left wing activist group. His current role is not one of law but one of leftist political hackery. Shocking, right?
Richard Painter is the Vice Chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-wing activist group.
In December 2016, Painter replaced in the position of Vice Chair … wait for it … David Brock. Yes, that David Brock, the consummate Democratic oppo-research attack dog, leader of Media Matters, and now American Bridge. That David Brock was Vice Chair of CREW tells you everything you need to know about the group.
But you will almost never hear this part of Painter’s resume when he appears on TV, which he does quite often. You might hear that he’s a professor at U. Minnesota Law School. But most of all, you will hear that he is a former George W. Bush administration Chief Ethics Lawyer (2005-2007).
I’m not a lawyer, but all the treason accusations flying around are reminding me of 2015 when scores of people who had never before heard of the Logan Act were suddenly venting their outrage on social media over the idea that Senator Tom Cotton and company had supposedly violated it by publishing an open letter to Iran. The cries of “treason” seem equally motivated by politics alone and sound equally stupid.
Painter’s shenanigans were nevertheless successful in that it got plenty of social media dumb-dumbs parroting the charge but “treason” is just a leftist political slogan in this case.
Meeting with foreign spies to ask them for info obtained in an act of war is not "opposition research". It's treason.
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) July 10, 2017
Please, Republicans in D.C., stop normalizing treason. Fight for your country.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 9, 2017
Here's the rub: Even if DJT Jr. committed a crime (treason springs to mind as a possible charge), DJT Sr. could pardon him. We're trapped…
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) July 10, 2017
Here’s how the law defines it in 18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
To my knowledge, we aren’t currently in a legally declared state of war with Russia (or anyone else), so that leads me to think whatever Trump Jr. did doesn’t meet the legal definition of treason. Some are saying that Russian hacking is an act of cyber warfare which automatically places us in a state of war with Russia. I’m fairly sure that’s not how it works.
This is not to say Trump Jr. may not have done something unethical, inappropriate, or even illegal in some other way. It’s probably not treason though. I don’t trust anyone in the Trump family any farther than I could throw one of their buildings, but I’m sick and tired of easily refuted left wing hysteria and sensationalism suffocating legitimate issues of concern.
Things that should be be investigated soberly just get drowned out as one side shouts “TREASON” while the other responds “WHAT ABOUT HILLARY?” in a war between two tribes of idiots. Rational discussion and consistency are practically impossible these days.
This is probably the most sensible advice for now.
Folks, please stop cavalierly throwing around the word treason. Just stop.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) July 10, 2017
Good luck getting anyone to agree to that though.